Bambolim, January 19: SC East Bengal put up an excellent display on Wednesday, blowing past FC Goa 2-1 and logging their first win of this season’s Hero Indian Super League, courtesy Naorem Mahesh Singh’s first-half brace.
With the victory, SC East Bengal climb out of the bottom of the league table into 10th place, with 9 points from 12 matches. FC Goa, on the other hand, lost out on a chance to better their standings in the table and slipped to 9th place.
SC East Bengal started the game with two foreigners, Darren Sidoel and Franjo Prce, making a comeback into the starting XI. FC Goa showed an attacking intent right from the start, but SCEB kept their defensive lines tight, ensuring the likes of Edu Bedia and Alberto Noguera didn’t have much space to maneuver in.
SC East Bengal grabbed an early lead in the 9th minute, with Mahesh Naorem Singh capitalizing on a mix-up between Edu Bedia and Alberto Noguera. Naorem ran for the ball, beat two defenders and calmly slotted it past the outstretched hand of Dheeraj Singh.
FC Goa upped the ante after conceding the goal, when Alberto Noguera brought back parity in the 36th minute. However, FC Goa’s joy was short-lived, as another defensive mistake cost them dearly. Defender Anwar Ali tried to switch flanks in the dying minutes of the first half, but the ball was again intercepted by Naorem Mahesh Singh inside the penalty box. Singh's volley ricocheted off the top bar right behind the goal line before bouncing back out. Singh quickly appealed to the linesman, who raced to the half-line to confirm the goal.
FC Goa sought hard for the equalizer in the second half, but were denied time and again by Adil Khan and Co., who defended valiantly and successfully. The highlight of the half was the save from goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya, who dove left full-stretch to deny Edu Bedia from a free kick.
As the final whistle blew, the look of relief on SCEB players’ faces revealed how desperately needed this victory was.
The club will next play Hyderabad FC on January 24th at Tilak Maidan, and it now seems Hyderabad are about to face a much more confident, resurgent SC East Bengal.